St. Petersburg Urban Affairs: Investing in people, programs and purpose in a way that changes the story.
The Urban Affairs platform is deeply rooted in the City’s vision and exists to perpetuate increased opportunity for St. Petersburg’s disenfranchised. The work of Urban Affairs, under the direction of Mayor Rick Kriseman, Deputy Mayor Dr. Kanika Tomalin and Director Nikki Gaskin-Capehart unfolds across four quadrants of focus, each reflective of the Administration’s priorities for South St. Petersburg. Historically, City efforts in South St. Petersburg’s redevelopment area have had the most significant and sustaining impact in the economic and infrastructure development arenas, with more than $200 million invested in this community over the past decade.
The Kriseman Administration’s Urban Affairs platform continues this momentum, leveraging past success with a comparable focus on the people who occupy the places that have been built.
The four focus areas of Urban Affairs include:
Opportunity Creation: Prioritization of the human, financial and intellectual capital required to propel disenfranchised residents of the city to the fullness of their potential. This includes a focus on education; skills training and professional development; job placement and support of community efforts designed to eradicate poverty and the social determinants that perpetuate it. A differentiating tenet of the Urban Affairs Opportunity Creation focus is the commitment to build partnerships with corporations, providers, community advocacy groups and other levels of government to engineer opportunities that transcend administrations, shifts the community’s approach to persistent poverty and hardwires the community’s culture to a compassionate, empowering model that fosters development and dissolves deficit.
Connecting through Cultural Affairs: Honoring the significant role cultural affairs has played in creating the character and culture of South St. Petersburg in a way that ensures it maintains its high profile and priority in the community’s future endeavors and developments. St. Petersburg is known as the City of the Arts. South St. Petersburg is notably illustrative of this community point of pride, as performance and visual art have long stood as a hallmark of the Southside’s cultural fabric. In this focus area Urban Affairs will work to honor the rich and differentiating cultural heritage of St. Petersburg’s Southside, while building and reinforcing new programming and opportunities that continue this rich tradition.
Nurturing Neighborhoods & Families: Building the social capital required to elevate neighborhoods across South St. Petersburg in a way that fosters the subsequent inclination to engage in the activities that sustain growth and connectivity. Urban Affairs is working closely with the Neighborhood Affairs Department to nurture neighborhoods and the families that occupy them. This work includes strategies of empowerment and support that result in community-led ownership and advancement. Examples include resurgence of the N-Team which helps with needed repairs; incentives for rehab and rebuilding of blighted homes; partnership with the police department to build relationships and investments in proven programs such as Family Services wraparound pilot.
Catalyst for Commerce: Enhancing and optimizing conditions conducive to a stable and productive economy in South St. Petersburg, in a way that encourages recruitment, entrepreneurship and retention of business, employment and economic integration with other sectors of the city and broader community.
Much of this work will unfold with strategies and tactics tied to the Southside Community Redevelopment Areas; Main Street Development, the Mayor’s Small Business Tours, and other programs and functions designed to reinforce the strength of businesses that exist in South St. Petersburg. Urban Affairs will work with the St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce, Small Business Development Center and others to help these businesses expand their footprints and fulfill their potential.